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Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Jun;71(6):1833-8.

The paradox of survival results after heart transplantation for cardiomyopathy caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. First Guidelines Group for Heart Transplantation of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology.

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Brazilian Society of Cardiology, São Paulo.



Donor supply limits heart transplantation (HT) and relative priority should be given to cases with greater chances of success. The objectives of this multicenter study were (1) to determine the survival rate after heart transplantation for patients with Chagas' heart disease (ChHD) in comparison with other causes; and (2) to identify the causes of death specifically due to reactivation of the Trypanosoma cruzi infection.


We studied 720 patients who had undergone orthotopic heart transplantation and were followed in 16 heart transplantation centers. The etiology was idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy in 407 patients, ischemic cardiomyopathy in 196 patients, and ChHD in 117 patients.


Follow-up was 2.87 +/- 3.05 years (from 1 month to 13.85 years). Survival of ischemic recipients at 1, 4, 8, and 12 years was 59%, 44%, 34%, and 22%, respectively; for idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy it was 69%, 57%, 40%, and 32%; and for ChHD it was 71%, 57%, 55%, and 46% (p < 0.027). In ischemic recipients the most frequent causes of death were infection (15.3%), acute graft failure (13.3%), and graft coronary artery disease/sudden death (7.7%). In idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy the causes were infection (11.1%), rejection (9.6%), and acute graft failure (9.1%). In ChHD the causes were infection (10.3%), rejection (10.3%), and neoplasm (4.3%). In ChHD, reactivation of the cruzi infection was the cause of death in 2 patients.


The survival results after heart transplantation are paradoxical according to the usually high expected death rates for Chagas' disease. Heart transplantation for ChHD should be regarded as a valuable treatment option.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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